The Legion’s Dominion Command Service Bureau service officers are here to serve stillserving
Canadian Forces members, veterans, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police and dependants while representing your interests in any dealings with Veterans
Affairs Canada (VAC) and the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB) in claiming
disability benefits under the Pension Act or the New Veterans Charter.
Professional Legion service officers provide counselling, assistance and representational
services free of charge, whether or not you are a Legion member. Our representation role
is mandated through legislation.
Recognizing that the face of the veteran is changing, and no longer seen as "an old guy”,
service officers in the Legion Service Bureau Network can also provide benevolent
assistance from our poppy funds for all ex-service personnel in financial need.
Scott Young, one of four command service officers in Ontario Command, says that “we
help veterans with the application process. We do research, deal with Veterans Affairs,
write up the applications and send them in on behalf of the veterans”.
Joanne Henderson, one of two service officers with British Columbia/Yukon Command,
says, “There is definitely a great need out there, one that’s increasing as the wartime
veterans from World War II and the Korean War are aging and as modern veterans come
“Are veterans looking for and needing more help? Yes they are”, she says. She adds that
VAC has made a number of steps forward in terms of benefits “but we would like to see
some further steps, particularly for widows”.
Says Henderson: “VAC also took some giant steps when they introduced the New
Veterans Charter. Before, the only way to access benefits was having an actual service
related disability. Today, a veteran transiting to civilian life can access retraining,
rehabilitation, job assistance and group health insurance in addition to disability and
financial benefits.” Henderson confirms that Legion service officers are there to assist all
veterans in meeting their needs.
Gerry Findlay, one of Alberta-Northwest Territories Command’s three service officers,
states that “we are indeed seeing an influx in modern veterans pursuing disability
benefits, not only from those still serving but from those that previously retired from the
Canadian Forces.” Recent adjudications under the New Veterans Charter, which are often
transmitted by word of mouth, are bringing in new claimants. Says Findley: “Just ask
Gord who received $63,400 or Norm who was awarded $127,800.”
As for Kelly Newstead, one of two command service officers in New Brunswick
Command, she states that: “Not only do we prepare and submit disability pension or award claims, we also advise clients on other benefits available from VAC. We can be a
gateway to VAC programs, allowing clients to deal with one person for a variety of
services. This is important when dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder clients or
those looking for direction or explanation when dealing with a sometimes complicated
List of all Command Service Officers
If you require assistance in gaining access to VAC benefits, including Legion benevolent
assistance, or if you have a friend or family member who needs help, please contact:
Service Bureau, Royal Canadian Legion, 86 Aird Place, Ottawa, ON K2L 0A1 or call
either 613-591-3335 or toll-free at 1-877-534-4666.
Serving You is written by Legion command service officers. To reach a service officer call toll-free 1-877-534-4666, or consult a command website.